Typical neighborhood streets don’t get a lot of traffic that’s just “passing through.” Many of the people who drive on residential streets live nearby and use them often. So to improve safety, neighbors have to look out for each other.
Steps you can take as a driver:
- Approaching an “uncontrolled” intersection, stay in control. If an intersection has no traffic light or stop signs, slow down as you approach it, even if you feel you have the right-of-way. You’ve got to drive to be safe...not just to be right.
- Don’t push the speed limit. Don’t try to stick at 30 mph, but aim a little bit below it. Even if it feels like a through street — it’s your neighborhood.
- Slow down for curves or parked vehicles. You can’t see what might suddenly pop out from behind parked cars.
- Watch for children playing near the pavement. Their judgment isn’t as good as yours needs to be.
- Keep an eye out for children waiting for school buses. Kids start lining up before7 a.m. and get home at 4 p.m. or later. Expect children to be present when you see the buses, and slow down to be ready to react. Be prepared to stop when buses are present, especially when the buses’ lights are activated.
- Talk about this with young drivers in your household. Their accident rate is high, and they need your guidance.
- Tell your neighbors they can save a life. Everyone has to work together to keep our streets safe.
Steps you can take as a parent or guardian:
- Do not let your children play in the street.
- Teach your kids bike and trike safety and the rules of the road.
- Repeat, and repeat again:
- Stop, Look and Listen.
How the City helps:
Engineers analyze accident data to determine if traffic control changes are needed.
Police Officers carry out targeted enforcement in areas with a higher than normal accident rate or where there is confirmed evidence of greater traffic violations.
How are speed limits determined for streets?
Minnesota State Statutes specify how speed limits are set:
- Streets meeting the definition of residential are set at 30 mph.
- Limits on other streets are set based upon a study conducted by staff of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Road design, prevailing speed of motorists, and accident data are the primary factors used in determining speed limits.
Why doesn’t the City just put in more stop signs?
There are state standards for the installation of stop signs based on traffic volume and speeds. Many neighborhood streets do not meet those guidelines for installation of stop signs or signals.
Traffic research projects around the country have repeatedly shown that installation of a stop sign in a situation in which it isn’t warranted can actually increase accidents and speeds. Why? Most of the drivers in the neighborhood become familiar with the traffic pattern. Some drivers who come up to a stop sign would be tempted to ignore it because “there’s never any traffic.”
Meanwhile, the stop signs give other drivers a false sense of security. Many drivers on the street without signs would know that the side streets have them. Some of those drivers would feel they can speed up because “I’ve got the right-of-way.”